If Jesus can’t save your show, nothing can.
The upcoming North American arena touring production of the Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar has been canceled. A statement on the show’s website confirmed the news that the production, which was to have started performances June 9 at the Lakefront Arena in New Orleans, was no longer going forward and that all ticket sales would be refunded.
The tour was announced back in April and was to have starred Ben Forster as Jesus, after he won a British reality-TV competition for the role, as well as American music stars Destiny’s Child’s Michelle Williams, ‘NSYNC’s J.C. Chasez, and the Sex Pistols’ John Lydon. The cast was still in rehearsals under the direction of Laurence Connor, currently represented on Broadway with the revival of Les Misérables, as recently as Thursday in New Orleans without any knowledge or awareness of the show’s impending doom. New Orleans was the first scheduled stop in a 54-city tour that would have also played big venues like the Staples Center in Los Angeles and Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Tickets were priced moderately between $29 and $125, but lead producer Michael Cohl declined to discuss the finances of the production back in April. According to the AP, at the time Cohl said “the new show’s total costs are in the ‘eight figures’ and needs to pull in ‘several hundred thousand dollars’ each night to keep it on the road.” Cohl was also behind the Broadway musical fiasco of the century Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.
Forster shared his devastation on his Twitter account:
My heart is broken. My beautiful talented cast and company I adore. This wonderful show & opportunity is over. I'm so sorry I am devastated.—
Ben Forster (@thebenforster) May 30, 2014
Chasez tweets also indicated his disappointment:
When it rains it pours—
JC Chasez (@JCChasez) May 30, 2014